Republicans want to pull the plug on the health care overhaul they call “Obamacare,” blaming it in part for the United States’ ballooning budget deficit.

But they’re quiet when it comes to the Medicare drug benefit — another massive health care entitlement, with unfunded future costs over $7 trillion.

Arguably, it could be driving up the deficit more than President Barack Obama’s ambitious health care plan is.

But when the Republican presidential candidates were asked last week asked if they would repeal the Medicare drug benefit, they said no way. After all, Republicans created it.

Debt and deficit are the focus of the Republican Party as the 2012 presidential campaign moves through the nominating process and looks ahead to the general election. Yet the reluctance of GOP candidates to renounce a costly entitlement program that voters like shows how politics can come into play when critiquing the federal ledger.

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